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Chilliwack sees year-to-year drop in overdose/poisoning calls for paramedics

After setting a record with 823 callouts in 2021, Chilliwack fell back to 715 callouts in 2022
Paramedics work to revive someone from an apparent drug overdose in Chilliwack, on June 16, 2017. According to numbers from BC Emergency Health Services, local paramedics were called out to 715 overdose situations in 2022. (Paul Henderson/Chilliwack Progress File)

There’s good news and bad news on the overdose front in the latest numbers from B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS).

The good news is that from 2021 to 2022, Chilliwack experienced a decline in the number of overdose/poisoning calls paramedics responded to. The bad news is that Chilliwack’s overall numbers have more than doubled from 2016.

Year to year, Chilliwack had 715 callouts in 2022 compared to a record-setting 823 in 2021, which represents a 13.12 per cent drop. But the sheer volume is still 11th highest among the 100 communities included in the BCEHS report.

Chilliwack was one of 51 communities to experience a dip in calls, but a few minutes up the freeway Abbotsford went in the other direction. BCEHS OD-related calls in that city rose 19.61 per cent, from 1,372 to 1,641.

RELATED: Chilliwack paramedics receive record number of overdose calls in 2021

Chilliwack’s smaller neighbours to the east fared better. In Hope there were 80 callouts in 2021 and 55 last year, representing a 31.25 per cent drop. In Agassiz, callouts decreased 43.33 per cent from 60 to 34.

RELATED: Another grim record for toxic drug overdose deaths in B.C. so far in 2022

BCEHS presented data going back several years. Unsurprisingly in the midst of the opioid crisis, all but the smallest communities have seen numbers skyrocket. Chilliwack’s callouts have more than doubled from 2016, rising 104.29 per cent from 350 to 715. Abbotsford again compares unfavourably, rising 171.24 per cent from 605 to 1,641.

Province wide, there were 19,725 OD-related callouts in 2016 compared to 33,564 last year, representing a 74.60 per cent increase.

In November of last year, the BC Coroners Service reported 27 overdose deaths for 2022 in Chilliwack, down from 46 in the same period in 2021.


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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